Gulf Air looking at cost cutting - official
MANAMA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Regional carrier Gulf Air [GULF.UL] is reviewing its operations to cut costs amid the global economic slowdown following the September 11 attacks on the United States, an airline official said on Monday.
The airline lost $98 million net in 2000. It was expected to halve its losses in 2001 after a $159.2 million cash injection by its owners -- the governments of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi emirate in the United Arab Emirates.
"Due to the crisis, all of our operation is being evaluated and, based on that, we can decide on the next step," the official from the Bahrain-based airline told Reuters.
"We are studying all areas whereby we can make cuts, but we don't have anything concrete right now," the official said.
Gulf Air said earlier this month it was suspending flights to two Gulf destinations as part of an overall reduction of operations by around 15 percent. It stopped flights to the northern Pakistani town of Peshawar in September. The airline, which operates around 30 planes, also received guarantees from its four owner states to cover $2 billion in new war risk insurance after insurance companies hiked airlines' third-party war and terrorism insurance following the suicide hijacked-plane attacks on New York and Washington.
"We have all been striving hard...to return Gulf Air to a profitable situation and with a service level that will be the envy of our competitors," Gulf Air President and Chief Executive Ibrahim al-Hamer said in a airline bulletin received on Monday.
He said the carrier had appointed an aviation consultant to conduct a comprehensive review and develop an action plan to improve the company's performance and boost profitability.
Gulf Air has also reactivated an incentive retirement scheme for employees, which was first introduced in 1996 to help cut costs, a company official said. Around 110 staff have accepted the early retirement scheme so far this year, he added.